Rams silence Tigers' roar, complete sweep
The Tigers might not have proven much of a test, but the Newton Rams varsity basketball team didn’t take Alcovy any less seriously Friday night than it would any other opponent.
The Rams came out ready to play from the first whistle, using an 11-0 first-quarter run to fuel a 72-35 victory over Alcovy on the road.
The win moves Newton to 6-2 in the region and still fighting for a No. 1 seed in the region tournament, while the Tigers drop to 2-17 overall while still searching for a win over a team not named Druid Hills.
Three different Rams finished in double figures, led by guard Jalen Glover, who scored eight in the first quarter. Newton connected on seven 3-pointers, while forcing 20 Alcovy turnovers in a game that coach Rick Rasmussen said was important if the Rams hoped to contend for a region title.
“I thought it was another good game by our guys tonight,” Rasmussen said. “We didn’t take Alcovy lightly at all. We respected that it was a region game and it meant a lot. We’re trying to hold our position in the region and hopefully move up. Every game is important."
Newton started its scoring early, rushing out to an 11-point advantage. Guard D.J. Hill found Glover open for a 3-pointer for the Rams’ first score of the contest, and seconds later, Taylor Hawkins picked off an Alcovy pass and converted it into a layup to put the Rams ahead 5-0.
A pair of layups from Hill and a basket from Keion Sims ended the Rams’ run before the Tigers’ Kevin Reina knocked down a free throw for the Tigers’ first point of the night. LaReco Herring drained a 3-pointer on Alcovy’s next possession, but the basket was the last for the Tigers in the first half, as Newton had a 9-0 spurt to take a 20-4 advantage into the second period.
Alcovy played the Rams tight in the second quarter. Newton outscored the Tigers 11-10 in the period, pushing its lead to 20 after Hill found
Glover near the baseline for an ally-oop over the Tigers’ defense.
Herring scored five straight points for the Tigers in the period, knocking down a 3-pointer and an elbow jumper, trimming Newton’s advantage to 28-12 with 3:11 remaining in the first half. Herring’s baskets were part of a 7-0 run for Alcovy after Cameron Banks hit a jumper. A Hawkins basket and Sims free throw took the Rams into the half leading 31-14.
Newton continued pouring it on in the second half, outscoring Alcovy 42-21.
Newton hit a trio of 3-pointers from Glover, Hill and Darvin Jones,a nd Alcovy went scoreless for more than three minutes in the quarter, allowing Newton to push its lead to 50-22 entering the fourth.
The Rams doubled up the Tigers 22-11 in the period, growing their lead to as many as 38 points. Devonte Long hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the Tigers, getting Alcovy back within 32 with 2:27 left in the game, but Newton closed the quarter on a 6-2 run, including nine points from Keondre McKibben over the final eight minutes.
Sims and Hill joined Glover in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively, while Herring led the Tigers with eight.
Alcovy interim coach Eric Hollier said that against the Rams his team looked listless, despite seeing improvement over the three previous games.
“Tonight’s game did not go the way I envisioned it,” Hollier said. “The guys have been doing a good job of playing well over the last three games, but tonight, it just wasn’t there. Perhaps fatigue was a factor, but the guys just didn’t play as well as they have the last three days.”
Lady Rams win
It took almost three quarters for the Lady Rams to look like themselves Friday night, but Newton poured on 20 points in the fourth quarter to earn its eighth region victory of the season, defeating rival Alcovy 64-48 on the road.
Deandra Reed led the Lady Rams with 13 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the first half, but Newton couldn’t shake the Lady Tigers (6-15, 4-5) off in the opening three periods.
Leading by just six heading into the final quarter of play, Newton outscored the Lady Tigers by eight, going 7-of-11 from the free-throw line in the second half while turning Alcovy over 11 times in the final 16 minutes.
Newton coach Tiffani Johnson said the Lady Rams faced a hint of adversity before the start of the game, but she was proud of the way her team responded to improve its record to 13-6 overall.
“At the beginning of the game, we had an emotional start,” Johnson said. “Everyone’s focus was off, so we got a slow start. I told them at halftime that adversity makes you strong, so we needed to play through some of the external stuff."
Leading 44-36 to start the fourth, Newton grew its lead to double digits, opening the quarter on a 10-0 run.
Sonia Forney started the Newton run with a layup after grabbing a loose ball underneath the Lady Rams’ basket, and point guard Precious Price knocked down back-to-back baskets, pushing Newton’s lead to 48-36 with 5:26 to go.
Alcovy’s Kiara Bagby ended the Newton run with a 3-pointer from the left wing a minute later, but Forney scored inside the paint, giving Newton a steady 54-41 advantage.
The Lady Tigers hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes, threatening Newton’s lead, but Price, Forney and Cynteria Langhorne combined to go 4-of-4 from the charity stripe during the stretch, allowing Newton to hang on for the 16-point win.
“One of the two biggest things to focus on during a game is rebounding and hitting your free throws,” Johnson said. “They did a good job of both tonight.”
Newton led by five after halftime, taking a 25-20 lead into the third quarter. Reed scored first for the Lady Rams in the quarter on a 3-pointer, but Daja Barnes answered with a 3-pointer of her own on Alcovy’s next possession, trimming Newton’s lead to 28-25 with 6:58 left in the quarter.
Alcovy and Newton traded baskets, and the Lady Tigers cut Newton’s lead to one on a Tierra Hodges’ free throw. But the Lady Rams ended the quarter on a 9-6 run, highlighted by a six-point scoring outburst from Langhorne. Shay Lawrence added a 3-pointer for Newton during the run to extend Newton’s lead to six.
Down 11-9 in the second quarter, Alcovy took the lead with a 4-1 run to open the period, going up 13-12 on a Keidra Sears rebound and putback. Newton battled back to tie the game after Imani Broadnax scored off her own miss, part of her six points in the quarter, and Newton took the lead for good on a pair of Lawrence free throws.
Alcovy converted just two field goals over the final six minutes of the half, allowing Newton to go on a 13-6 run to end the quarter.
Newton led 11-9 after the first period, with Reed scoring seven in the quarter to pace the Lady Rams.
Forney joined Reed in double figures with 11 points, while Hodges led Alcovy with 13.
Newton guard Jalen Glover sneaks behind the Alcovy defense, finishing an alley-oop pass from teammate D.J. Hill with a dunk. Glover finished with 16 points to lead Newton to a 72-35 win over its rivals.
Newton's Deandra Reed paced the Lady Rams with 13 points, including seven in the first quarter, in Newton's 64-48 victory over Alcovy Friday night.